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Man Sues Los Angeles over Excessive Parking Meter Fines

When a fine for an expired meter grew to $175, one man decided he was mad as heck and wasn't going to take it anymore.

A Los Angeles man is suing the city for what he claims are unconstitutional excessive fines imposed for expired parking meters. Patch file photo.
A Los Angeles man is suing the city for what he claims are unconstitutional excessive fines imposed for expired parking meters. Patch file photo.

A Los Angeles man is suing the city for what he claims are unconstitutional excessive fines imposed for expired parking meters, according to court papers obtained Thursday.

Jesus Pimentel, lead defendant in a proposed class-action suit, contends that his $175 parking fine was unfair and potential further penalties deprive residents of their right to due process.

A call to the City Attorney's Office after regular business hours was not immediately returned.

According to the complaint, filed in Los Angeles federal court this week, Pimental received the ticket on Eighth Street downtown at 3:10 p.m. last May 29.

He paid the fine in order to register his vehicle at the DMV, the lawsuit says.

The ticket started out at $63 for an expired meter, but doubled because it wasn't paid within two weeks, the complaint states. Pimentel also had to pay a $28 delinquent fee and $21 for collection, he said.

The lawsuit alleges that the DMV's threat to withhold registration of his car and/or boot or seize the vehicle if he didn't pay the $175 -- along with the threat of civil litigation, reporting him to a credit bureau and garnishing of his state tax refund -- violated his constitutional right to face his accusers in court.

"The parking meter expiration penalties are unreasonable and oppressive, and grossly disproportionate to the seriousness of the violation," the suit claims.

The lawsuit seeks class certification, declaratory relief, an injunction, and damages.

—City News Service

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